Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Decisions, Decisions

Before assembling the dress, which involved cutting the bodice now that the smocking is done, and then seaming the bodice sections to the skirt sections, I'm trying to evaluate if I should do a layer of stitches below the last tier of smocking coming off the skirt to make the fullness lay a little more like a pleat and do less of that 'spread' thing that smocking tends to do.
Take a look:
1. Smocking released naturally

2. pleat stitched down by a form of backsmocking
3. full view. stitched down pleats on left side, natural release on right
4. close up
I'm not sure but that the cartridge pleat effect doesn't make the horizontal line more pronounced and therefore less attractive.


Monday, July 23, 2007

A Vintage walk down memory lane

The Vintage Sewing contest is getting set to start over at Pattern Review, and this has prompted me to take a look through my vintage pattern collection.
By the standards the contest is using, a portion of my pattern collection, that I purchased new, qualifies as Vintage. Ouch! Either I keep patterns too long, or else I'm just getting old- or both!

Every time I've done a pattern purge though, one pattern has remained in my collection, for it's sentimental value. This is the very first Vogue Pattern I ever made. I was so proud of myself, and felt so grown up, and so 'advanced'. There was no Very Easy Vogue then, and stepping up into sewing Vogue was considered Advanced.
Notice the price on the pattern! And the 'new sizing' tag. We're still using that 'new sizing'.
I was 13 or 14 when I made this outfit. I used a burgundy wool flannel and made the tunic, pants and skirt, fully lined. I also made the blouse, but the memory of that is hazier.
The fabric came from Fabers Fabrics in Somerset Mall, the high end mall in the Detroit area that was anchored by Saks and Bonwit Teller. Those were the days when fabric stores still existed in high end malls, and all the major dept stores had fabric departments.
Here I am, wearing the tunic and pants, at age 14, with my mom and my sister. My mom made her dress too. I remember the fabric scraps hanging around, years later.
Come to think of it, when this pic was taken, at a mother daughter banquet at our church, in 1971, my baby brother was cooking already. He was born the following September.
(and is it any wonder I'm not a fan of the "jumper"?, This tunic is a jumper silhouette, and I swear looking at it in retrospect, it adds a minimum of 20 lbs visually. I wasn't in any way overweight at age 14)

I'm thinking about entering the contest. Depends on my time constraints.
I'm also planning, in the August / Sept time frame to visit my son at his new house in Rockford IL, to go to Stitches Midwest and spend some time with Jae and meet Lorraine and Jewel, and hopefully get to see Kim again. (Kim. what's up?)
Then I've got a trip scheduled again to Columbia SC to move dsd into her dorm, then back in time to meet my sis at the airport here to spend 3 intensive days fitting muslins for some sewing I'll be doing for her. Just found out too that dh will be traveling to Germany in that time frame.
Then we're into Labor Day, then Sept looks just as crowded, with 2 trips to the East Coast.

Oh, And for those of you who've known for awhile that I need it - I'm finally getting my head examined ;)
Had a CATscan or MRI on Friday (don't know which it was?), and am seeing an ENT to figure out what is going on in my head that causes such pressure that I can't fly without some serious pain. I need to be able to fly by mid-Sept.

So D, it might be up to you to choose a vintage design if I'm going to get anything made for the Vintage sewing contest. The Big4 pattern company retro re-issues don't count. Needs to be an actual vintage pattern, circa 1982 or earlier. I know something from the 40's works with your design aesthetic. EvaDress Patterns do count, as do Decades of Style.
Rule change ok, rules have changed and now you can pick a Vintage Pattern from Vogue, Butterick or Simplicity. Opens up a lot of possibilities.
Part of my personal vintage pattern collection may also be viewed here. I have more, I just have to pull them together and take some pics.

It also seems to be a day for posting nostalgia. I checked Carolyns blog a little bit ago, and she'd posted some 'art-to-wear' pieces she made 15 to 20 years ago. Since this post was already partly written I'd decided to go with it.
So I'm going to challenge you, what do you still have hanging around that you created years ago - pics, actual patterns, actual garments? Do you have a fabulous collection of knitwear designs from decades ago? Show us.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Latest project

What's on the table Now?
Ok, It's not original, in fact, I'm not even the first to copy it. But I've been dreaming about copying it since last Spring, so I'm just going to do it. Claudine did such a fabulous job, that I was a little intimidated to try, but, I'm really liking the process.
I'm using the same pattern as a starting point that Claudine used. And, If I can pull it off, this will be the pattern that I enter into the One Pattern Multiple Look contest on PR. Dont know if I'll make it with the time constraints though.
The original, by Bottega Venetta

The fabric, an Italian Cotton shirting picked up from The Wool House, a Toronto based fabric store that sells beautiful Italian fabrics, including Zegna. I'll have to get a detail closeup of the fabric, it's a very small herringbone stripe with two different colors of blue, and then there is the red pinstripe every 1/2 inch.
I had thought to stop the smocking before reaching the neckline - but now I see why B-V took it all the way up. I drew lines (chalk) on the shoulders, thinking I might take up some of the slack there - but I'm NOT liking it, so it will come out and I'll do some subtle pleats at the shoulder. I had thought to just have a triangle of smocking up the back, and leave the last 3" on each side of the side seam plain, but I may change my mind there too, and go back and finish the smocking all across. We;ll see how it plays out.

It had been since high school that I'd done any of the old fashioned dot type American Smocking.
you've got to love the web. I googled smocking and found the directions here.
It still took me a few tries to get my needle in the right place every time.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

New Vogues are up

Isn't that just Lovely? IMO one of the prettiest bridal patterns to come along in a long long time.

These patterns made my short list.
I love the coat and think that it's perfect for the purple Ungaro felted wool I have in stash. I'm still looking for the perfect full pant for several woolens and this might be it! The dress 8409 is at the top of my list. I see it colorblocked, ala Carolyn's latest linen creation, only done in wool double knit. Do you see it too? And I Like the blouse, although I'm doing double and triple takes at those 80s shoulders.

This is the Only OMG What were they thinking at Vogue:
Discussion on PR has suggested The Jolly Green Giant, An elf, (two different ends of the size spectrum but both essentially comical)

I expect that Dsis might like this, as we've discussed jackets in the last week, but I'm not a fan of shrunken jackets on anyone except fairly small women. I don't think they do a thing, proportion-wise, for full busted women, plus size women, or tall women.

There are others, like the funnel neck suit jacket, and lots of interesting shapes/seaming in skirts, that are nice, but I don't need to buy.

So I ask you, what do you love/hate about the new collection?

Monday, July 16, 2007

A knit dress

Awhile ago I made this dress from a Maggy London Butterick pattern 4914
and have come close to wearing it to death since.

So yesterday I finally managed to finish this next knit dress, that has been on my machine since before the big cleaning frenzy. In the cleanup somehow I managed to lose a sleeve - ended up cutting another, after locating the stretch lining that I'd put exactly where it's supposed to be, but of course didn't SEE it when I looked there first time. (how is it that even after all that cleaning and organizing I can still waste an hour looking for something?)
Anyway, I present Simplicity 3775, Review here on PR for more detail.

There aren't really 3 layers of lace at the hem, there are just some exceptionally vivid shadows in the full afternoon sun.
I don't love the dress. Not like I love the Green one. Lots of reasons, but mostly to do with the fabric choice - a VERY stretchy lace knit that I chose to line with a nude swimwear lining - should have lined with black tricot. oh well.
And, I thought I would like the coverage at the cleavage better with the Simplicity - but in truth it feels just a tad 'dowdy' to me, Annnd....I don't love the gathers coming off the empire seam as I love the pleats coming out of the V.
So all-in-all, I guess if I make another of these dresses that are so comfy to wear they're like PJ's, it'll be from the Butterick pattern again.

Would you Look at that basil my sweet hubby grows for me to cook with? This pot of basil is on the deck right outside the kitchen door. Yum!

a teaser shot of what's already cooking on my sewing table:

Friday, July 13, 2007

They say it's your B'day!

Isn't my hubby a sweetie?

And get this:
too bad I didn't hear about it in time - or maybe good thing I didn't hear about it ;)

What better way to celebrate your birthday on Friday, July 13, than with delicious doughnuts from Krispy Kreme! In celebration of its 70th anniversary, Krispy Kreme will give customers whose birthday falls on July 13th, one free dozen Original Glazed doughnuts.

Visit your local Krispy Kreme shop on July 13 to make your birthday the sweetest day of the year, and while you’re there, check out some of our latest menu choices including Krispy Kreme Chillers and Doughnut Hole Cups to go. Our Mocha Dream Chiller was recently awarded 'best of the bunch' receiving 5 straws for slurpability among iced coffee drinks by the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

Official Rules:
No purchase necessary. Offer valid only on Friday, July 13th, 2007.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

winged animals and more

The cleaning gods were not done with me.
How do I know?
They sent two lone little moths down to my basement, to send me into full panic mode for a full 3 days, about my woolens.
I've done quite a bit of web research. *
I now know the difference between an Indian meal moth and a webbing clothes moth. I've read a lot about the various methods to prevent moth infestations, and about how to irradicate them.
I'm confident now that the moth that I found in another section of the basement, in with stored stuff of the girls that has since all been removed and is gone from the house now, (a lone moth flew out of a stuffed animal, and that was enough for all the stuffed animals and pillows to get banished, they've done nothing but reside in the basement for several years), was not a precursor to an infestation in my fabrics and yarns.

Still, I removed every piece of wool fabric to my deck, unrolled every bolt, shook out the fabric per the recommendation of the experts on moth control, inspected and then flat folded my fabrics, inventoried them, and piled them on the dining table. I am now preparing a trunk for storage, and we've obtained fresh cedar shingles which I'll put into the trunk.
Best line of defense: inspect it all and move it around frequently, and Use it.
Inventory shows I have less woolen pieces than I feared. I am also now confident that there won't be any woolens left in my stash when it comes time to move and store. I have a Plan

I found one more moth, just resting, away from the fabrics, but I didn't find any evidence of moths in the fabrics. And none in the yarn either. Back in the 80's I had an infestation of moths, and I know the signs, the detritus they leave in their wake, including the holes. I found no evidence of moths except the 2 moths themselves, so I will continue to be diligent.

Meanwhile, my happy wool, free of holes:

*for anyone who is really concerned and wants an education, here are some links.

Next Up,
Thanks for the input on the dress design. Between the summer cold I've got, my fabric crisis, and my dad and his wife visiting, I didn't get anything cut yet.
But I do believe I've made a decision. In case I change my mind though, I'll keep the decision to myself until it is cut. Look for results later in the week.

in the comments: ;)d left a comment. Hey Denise!! D is my sister, whom I didn't know was even reading my blog. You've heard about Denise before, she is Joey's stepmom**
She's also mom to Dalton and stepmom with full-time custody to Staz, Krystyna, and Samantha (Sammy). She also works full time and last I knew was up for promotion. Her life is crazy-busy.
I didn't know she was wearing some of the clothes I made for her. It's been awhile.
Methinks it's time to make some more clothes for D.

This is Denise and I with our Dad at his 75th b'day party, in our matching 'sister dresses' Vogue 2267

We had each gained a few pounds since the year before, which is when I made those dresses for us to wear to our mom's pre-wedding dinner.
The fabric was an embroidered white pique from Joanns.
Since we live in different states, it really isn't as hokey as it looks, us wearing matching clothes. There was a Purpose in the matching dresses when I made them. ;)

**Latest update from Denise about Joey, he's done really well, has just had his port removed, and is, as of last week, back to full-time activity normal for a boy his age. There is no more indication of any cancer cells. thanks to everyone for their prayers and thoughts over the last year.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

More Sewing Ideas

I'm starting to plan the sewing for the remainder of the month.
This fabric is right at the top of the priority list. It goes with the silk tweed jacket I made as part of my SWAP this year, and it's just calling me.
But I'm still torn on the silhouette I want for this dress. It will be a dress.
Below is the fabric, what Anna Sui did with it when she showed it as part of her Fall collection last year, and the three patterns I'm considering right now.
I'll be able to finish up the black dress on the machine now, and will be able to cut this fabric out Monday.
I'm open to opinions.
(if you click on the pic it'll get large enough to see the details)

Photo credits: Fabric,
Pattern sketches: Vogue
Runway Anna Sui Dress:

Friday, July 06, 2007

knitting room too

It has come to my attention that some of my knitting friends are concerned for me..don't be.
This cavernous space is as much dedicated to knitting as to sewing. At least, the storage of knitting supplies.
I knit (at home) mostly in the chair above. I also knit in the car - a lot lately it seems.

The black thing is the sleeve I started last night. That OTT light allows me to see well enough to knit black, even at night. The Most amazing thing is, last fall that cylinder that connects the light arm to the stand broke...seems I was trying to adjust it in the wrong direction and the plastic housing just snapped. All the rest is metal, except the top of that cylinder, which is plastic. The lamp is a couple of years old. Finally, a few weeks ago, I contacted the company that distributes OTT lights, their information is on a sticker at the bottom of the lamp base. They told me to send the top part, but not the heavy base, back to them to fix it. I did. They contacted me again and told me that it couldn't be fixed, but for the price of shipping - $14.85 - they would send me a brand new replacement. And they did. Everything above the metal cylinder of the base on that lamp is new.
That is what I call customer service. Yes, you pay a tad more for OTT than for the look-alike brand, but, I'm so impressed with them that I will always buy OTT in the future.

A composite picture of the knitting portion of my workspace. Just for Brigitte.
Ball winder and swift, blocking board and basket with needles and stuff on top, book portion of knitting library, there are still 2 shelves of Vogue Knitting and Interweave Knits magazines on that shelving unit too, and on the bottom, yarn stash...oh my, so much yarn.
The question is, will I live long enough?

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Before and After, took longer than I thought







The fabric lying on the machine table is the dress currently under construction. All other "under construction" projects are in bags or drawers awaiting their turn.
The second machine to the left of my main machine is for Lauren to use until she goes to school. That is where the desk used to be. The desk has been completely cleaned out, moved to the wall adjacent to where the old Blind hemmer was, and re-stacked with pertinent supplies.
A bookcase has been moved to the space where the old blind hemmer was and now all of my sewing and knitting books and magazines are all together.
Every bin, every drawer, every surface, and every pile has been gone through and organized.

Now maybe I can get it together and get some work done.
Motivation is returning.
I hope, by Monday, to have a plan of action, ala Carolyn, for the rest of the summers sewing.

Meanwhile, knitting continues apace.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Organization and Progress

I"m so excited!
The Drops Cardi is ready for sleeves. I'm joining Marina and Lorraine and half the rest of the knitting world on sleeve island for a spell.
The yarn for this is the Blue Sky Alpaca and Silk, and it's just the most wonderful stuff. It's also "crunchy", don't know how else to describe it.

and now, you may just want to avert your eyes.

I Cannot believe I am posting this "Before" picture.
You know those make-over shows where they go in and completely clean the slate and then start over? That's what I feel the need to do.
Projects, fabric and supplies cover every available surface. Who can work like this? not me.

I also felt the need to get all the rest of my fabric stash in plain sight. In part to avoid this:
Opening the trunk and rifling through looking for fabric that I "know" is there, then leaving the mess.

So, I brought in another shelving unit, I pulled all my fabric out from trunks and bins, and I've been stacking it on the shelving or rolling what I can onto those bolts.
I'm SABLE (Stash Amassed Beyond Life Expectancy). If there was any doubt, this should erase that. And, I keep walking into rooms and finding more fabric...some in the laundry room that I'd pre-shrunk awhile ago, then hung, some velvet hanging on velvet hangers over on the other side of the basement, some knits laying flat to dry in an upstairs bedroom.
The goal today is to finish collecting it from everywhere, finish the organization and clean-up, and be ready/able to take pictures of the workable space by this evening.

Thanks to Elizabeth M I also discovered Freecycle. It's a community based yahoo group.
"This Freecycle™ group matches people who have things they need to get rid of with people who can use them. Our goal is to keep usable items out of the landfill. By using what we already have on this earth, we reduce consumerism, manufacture fewer goods, and lessen the impact on the earth. Another benefit of using Freecycle™ is that it encourages us to get rid of junk that we no longer need and promote community involvement in the process. Free your inner pack rat!"

I've so far managed to find a new home for my old US Blindstitch machine

75 or so patterns that I will not use again or never used in the first place,

and 2 bags of fabrics, total weight about 50 lbs.

I also Freecycled some books from the bookshelves upstairs, but that is a topic for another day, and all of the old computer equipment in the basement.